More odd and humorous happenings with Chiyo-Chan and all her friends
in this second volume of Azumanga Daioh: the Animation!
This edition brings four more episodes of this amusing series.
These stories are funny and cute, but have a slightly odd slant to them
that makes the show very entertaining. First the girls compete against
their teacher's rival in a sports festival. The school is having
a field day but Ms. Yukari and Ms. Minamo have placed a wager on the outcome
of the event, adding a lot of pressure for the girls to win.
Then there is a cultural festival where the students turn their classroom
into a fairyland and sell hand made stuffed animals. Well, they sort
of look like animals, even if they are named after large corporations and
There is a Japanese superstition that whatever you dream on New Year's
night will come true in the following year. We get to look inside
four of the girl's heads to see what goes on while they sleep. It
is very strange and surreal, but awfully funny.
Finally we get an episode devoted to Ms. Sakaki. It's Chiyo's
birthday and Sakaki wants to get her young friend something, but what to
If anything, this volume is better than the first one. The episodes
are more coherent, with each one telling a single story instead of several
mostly unrelated scenes that like some of the early shows did. There
is even some character development with the depth of Sakaki's feeling towards
animals being explored and Kaorin's feelings for a certain classmate being
revealed. But mostly it was just plain fun. There isn't any
great dilemma or problems facing the girls, just who is going to win a
foot race or what type of booth to have at the school's culture festival.
The relaxed attitude seems to accent the humor even more, giving time for
Sakaki's deadpan look to get a laugh or letting Osaka's strange ideas sink
There are several great bits in every episode; I especially liked Sakaki's
continuing attempts to pet a cat, any cat. There are some disturbingly
funny bits with the pedophilic teacher who is always lusting after the
girls. Though this character would never be featured in a show originating
in the US, the Japanese don't seem to have a problem with him. He
continually has some of the strangest lines that always induce a laugh.
He was in top form when he went to the swim team's refreshment stand and
asked for a glass of water from the pool that the girls had swum in.
Chiyo-Chan isn't the main focus of these episodes, and she plays a supporting
role in many of the shows. That's good because the other characters
are just as interesting. I can't wait for the next volume.
Like the first volume, this DVD offers the choice of the original Japanese
language track in stereo or a 5.1 English dub. The 5.1 English track
was more enveloping than the Japanese track, but it doesn't sound superior.
The English track was actually fairly irritating. It sounds like
it was dubbed by people who have never actually heard a young girl talk,
but are trying to imitate other cartoon girl voices. The female voices
were all high pitched and squeaky. Osaka's voice was done with a
fake southern accent that sounded really dumb. I greatly preferred
the Japanese track that was clean and clear with no hiss or audio distortion.
Being a recent production, the full frame video looked good. The
lines were tight and sharp, and the colors clear. There was a fair
amount of aliasing, with the diagonal lines having a stair step effect.
This is common with animated shows. The colors were a little muted,
but I think that this was the creator's intent.
This DVD includes a clean opening and closing, and a two-minute reel
of production sketches.
The trailers on this disc are for Steel Angel Kurumi, Bast of Syndrome,
Magical Play, Slayers Premium, and Final Fantasy Unlimited.
The clear case comes with a reversible cover, and there is a 12-page
booklet enclosed. The booklet had comments on each episode by various
people who worked on the show. It also contained explanations of
the various cultural references in the series that western audiences may
not understand. This was especially helpful in explaining some of the more
obscure jokes, like when Osaka holds up an eggplant and a hawk while standing
in front of Mt. Fuji in Sakaki's dream. Surprisingly, it does actually
This series is getting better as it goes on. While some of the
episodes on the first disc were a little disjointed, the creators have
solved that problem and these shows hang together much better. If
anything they've gotten more humorous too. This is a nice light series
that isn't over the top like Excel Saga, but still has a good number
of laughs. Recommended.